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Kyiv breaks through Russia’s first defensive lines

Volunteers deliver food to local residents in a flooded area after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kherson, Ukraine June 9, 2023. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko – REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko

Ukraine has broken through Russia’s first line of defence in several places 48 hours after launching its long-awaited counteroffensive, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Ukrainian forces have “likely made good progress” and forced Russia to beat a disorderly retreat in some places, though it may be struggling in other areas, the MoD said.

“In some areas, Ukrainian forces have likely made good progress and penetrated the first line of Russian defences. In others, Ukrainian progress has been slower.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s performance has been mixed, too, said the MoD. 

“[S]ome units are likely conducting credible manoeuvre defence operations while others have pulled back in some disorder, amid increased reports of Russian casualties as they withdraw through their own minefields.”

09:56 AM

Ukrainian forces claim to have gained more ground near Bakhmut

Kyiv said there had been heavy fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk on Friday, and a military spokesperson said Ukrainian forces had gained more ground near the devastated city of Bakhmut.

Russia says Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed so far. Ukraine has not said the counteroffensive has actually begun – nor is it likely to – although the consensus among military analysts seems to be that it has.

With virtually no independent reporting from the front lines and Kyiv saying little, it was impossible to assess whether Ukraine was penetrating Russian defences in its bid to drive out occupying forces.

09:51 AM

‘Dnipro river should return to its banks by June 16 after dam collapse’

The southern reach of the Dnipro river is likely to return to its banks by June 16 following a vast flood unleashed by the breach of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam this week, a Russian-installed official said on Saturday.

The flood has inundated towns and villages below the dam, trapping residents and sweeping away entire houses on both sides of the Dnipro, which separates Ukrainian-controlled Kherson province from the southern section that Russian forces control.

Vladimir Saldo, who heads the Russian-controlled part, said the water level at Nova Kakhovka, the town adjacent to the dam on the downstream side, had now dropped by 3 metres (10 feet) from Tuesday’s peak.

*** BESTPIX *** KHERSON, UKRAINE - JUNE 09: A woman sits in an inflatable boat after she was evacuated by volunteers from an apartment building on a flooded street on June 9, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine. Early Tuesday, the Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power plant, which sit on the Dnipro river in the southern Kherson region, were destroyed, forcing downstream communities to evacuate due to the risk of flooding. The cause of the dam's collapse is not yet confirmed, with Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of its destruction. The Dnipro river has served as a frontline between the warring armies following Russia's retreat from Kherson and surrounding areas last autumn. The dam and plant had been under the control of Russia, which occupies a swath of land south and southeast of the river. (Photo by - Roman Pilipey/Getty Images

*** BESTPIX *** KHERSON, UKRAINE – JUNE 09: A woman sits in an inflatable boat after she was evacuated by volunteers from an apartment building on a flooded street on June 9, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine. Early Tuesday, the Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power plant, which sit on the Dnipro river in the southern Kherson region, were destroyed, forcing downstream communities to evacuate due to the risk of flooding. The cause of the dam’s collapse is not yet confirmed, with Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of its destruction. The Dnipro river has served as a frontline between the warring armies following Russia’s retreat from Kherson and surrounding areas last autumn. The dam and plant had been under the control of Russia, which occupies a swath of land south and southeast of the river. (Photo by – Roman Pilipey/Getty Images

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